The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What kind of dualism?


Ditto for me! Especially enlightening has been seeing each philosophy prof urge quite opposite conclusions. Like most big philosophical debates, what you aptly describe as difficult to summarize involves many pages of qualifications and arguments full of tricky nuances. My inclination when an argument can’t be articulated with more clear simplicity is to assume that one that is both coherent and convincing is not at hand.


I ditto your ditto!

There are a number of philosophical ‘problems’ that, by their nature and the limitations of human minds, cannot be solved. Seems like each generation tries, though.


Here are some good, philosophical articles, on the brain mind problem.

Can anyone provide a summary, of the 3 articles?

I still say that - from a mystical perspective - the mind is potentially, the more powerful element. Although my P-Zombie and Zombie friends, have different views on this matter. :wink:


Yes, the writers were" Hebrew minded" all right, or perhaps more accurately “Jewish minded” as were the Jews of their day—yet after having been taught by the Messiah, the minds of Jesus’ disciples began to move away from Jewish mindedness and become Messiah minded.


Yep that’s true too, although they still struggled with their own nationalistic mind-set, as per…

This would naturally be pretty much in line with their brethren here…

Again… so called “doubting” Thomas was actually the sort of guy you’d want to have your back, as he was one who once convinced you wouldn’t shake him easily, as he was definitely one thinking in terms of martyrdom for the cause, as per…

This then all started to change from Pentecost forward.


I didnt say the soul is the mind in an exclusive manner, or intending to be totally definitive about it in a limiting way. Rather than write the book in the post, I was making the point that in my opinion these 4 things exist in union as the elements of a human being. That is why I used the ark of the covenant as an example. The ark had stuff in it, on it, around it. But is was the ark of the covenant, one thing made up of several key elements. I also said the heart is the highest seat of consciousness, and in my view intellect is lower than consciousness.

If I said my hand is not my foot I would be correct. if I said because my hand is not my foot it is not “me” I would be an idiot. Essentially the intellect and emotions are among processing, feeling, expressing elements of “me”.

A comprehensive parallel study of the words “heart”, “soul” and “spirit” is really worthwhile, yielding lots of juicy revelation, and…

Anyway, it was just food for thought. :slight_smile:

“So I said to myself, ‘Self, it is a beautiful day’”. I took communion within myself, and I marveled at the creation of God, that even in the midst such death and chaos the shadows and echoes of His glory are greater than the most wonderful inventions of man. I said to myself, “You are without excuse, O man for since the beginning His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly displayed through the things He has made”. I wept, I rejoiced, that this awesome Creator would pay such a price in order to experience harmony and familial communion with such a lowly example of humanity as me, and to bring me into His friendship- to send His Son, His most precious one, to redeem me, awaken me and illuminate me. Jesus my friend, my Savior, my Lord!



I was reading, and even wrote to Moreland, (with a response of no comfort) when my only sibling committed suicide.

This was right before the Lord’s mercy and kindness and truth lit up my being. Of His kind intention to all mankind.

Theologians sometimes know nothing of Him.


My main reason for being a dualist is philosophical, but it seems at least somewhat supported by scripture too.

Luke 8:55
And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat.


Qaz, isn’t this simply a way of saying that her LIFE returned?

Genesis 2:7 (ESV) then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

The Hebrew word here translated as “breath” is often translated as “spirit” in other places.

Also in the New Testament, the Greek word πνευμα (pneuma—from which the English word “pneumatic” is derived), though it is usually translated as “spirit” is translated both as “wind” and “spirit” in the following verse:

John 3:8 "The wind πνευμα] blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit πνευμα].

One could conclude from these examples that in Luke 8:55, the clause “And her spirit returned” could simply mean “And her wind returned” or better “And her breath returned.” Today we would probably say, “And she began to breathe again.” So there is no reason to suppose that the child’s πνευμα was some immaterial part of her that went somewhere at death, and returned to her body again when Jesus said, “Child, arise.”


qaz, Paidion beat me to it. I too sensed that the body apart from the divine breath (or spirit) is seen as dead. But it’s not clear to me that having such breath was usually seen as your independent existence as a person. Most typically (especially before the resurrection of the body was affirmed) a body that lost its’ breath or spirit was seen as a very dismal fate.


In this wide-ranging thread, a sub-thread has been: Did someone Divine die on the cross? Did an eternal god of some sort actually die?

Here is an interesting podcast that was posted today at Trinities.Org. It deals with those very questions: … ie-part-1/


Dave, I just now noticed the following for the first time:

The question could be asked concerning your dog. It cannot be proven that it is “self-aware” since it cannot speak. But in some sense, it demonstrates awareness of a lot of things in a similar way that people are aware. True “dog meat” in itself clearly is not aware. Yet no one explains the awareness of dogs by claiming that dogs have “souls” or “spirits.”

In your last post, you asked:

These are two separate questions. I would answer “yes” to the first, and “no” to the second, that is if “eternal” implies having no beginning.

I also checked out the blog you indicated. It correctly indicated that not all of the following statements can be true:

  1. Jesus died.
  2. Jesus was fully divine.
  3. No fully divine being has ever died.

The writer opted for statement 2 as being the one that was false. I think that statement 2 is true, but that statement 3 is the false one.
To be “fully divine” is not tantamount to being God Himself or to being a second God who is without beginning and who is self-existing.

My understanding is that the Son of God is truly a Son in a way that is unique and different from the sense in which we are sons of God. Thus the New Testament writers refer to Him as “the ONLY-begotten Son.” Indeed, papyrus 66 (around 150 A.D.) and papyrus 75 (around 200 A.D.) refer to Him as “the only-begotten God” in John 1:18. Only in later editions of the Greek was “θεος” (God) changed to “υιος” (Son).

The early Christian writers stated that the Son of God was “begotten (or “generated”) before all ages.” That continued to be believed and was even written in the original Nicene Creed (about 325 A.D.) which was accepted by the early Trinitarians. But later Trinitarians realized that the single event of being “begotten before all ages” was inconsistent with Trinitarian thought, and so they changed “begotten before all ages” in the Nicene Creed to “eternally begotten.”

Justin Martyr in his “Dialogue with Trypho” compared the begetting of the Son to a smaller fire coming into existence by being ignited by a larger one.The smaller fire is of the same “substance” as the larger, but yet is a separate fire. As I see it, perhaps a better analogy could be seen in human generation. When we beget children, they are human like ourselves, and just as we are generically called “man,” so our offspring are “man.” So when God begat His one and only Son, that Son was divine like His Father, and can therefore be called “God” in that sense.

However, in being born as a human being, the Son divested Himself of all His divine attributes, and became fully human. While He lived on earth He could do no miracles on his own, but trusted his heavenly Father to do the miracles through Him. Indeed, as I see it, He emptied Himself of his Deity itself, and retained only his identity as the Son of God.

…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8 RSV)

He did not wish to “grasp” or hold on to his Deity, but become FULLY human! We speak of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross on our behalf—as well we should. But do we ever consider the great sacrifice He made in emptying Himself of his Deity and becoming fully human? As a human being, He was tempted in every respect as we are, and yet without sin (Heb 4:15). Indeed, as a fully human being, it was necessary for him to learn obedience through the things that He suffered. (Heb 5:8).


Thanks Paidon for taking the time to look into this and for making your thoughts clear.

I know that you and I agree that there is one God, and that is the Father, Who cannot die.
And I think we agree that Jesus of Nazareth was (and is?) a fully human being, meaning among other things, that He could and did die.

I confess that I am speculating now - BUT if as you maintain, a pre-existent Being, who was begotten by God the Father before time, and had existed since that point during the creation of the universe, and thence either for 6,000 years +/- or 15 billion years, +/- had been with the Father, and then with the Father in the creation of the world and mankind, was indeed then ‘transformed into flesh’ i.e., became an ACTUAL human being, certain things seem to logically follow:

-He could not be born with any memories of his eternal experiences or knowledge - any more than other actual humans are.
-He could not have two natures (which noone can explain anyway), any more than other actual humans do.
-He (as a pre-existing Being) was not actually made flesh - He did not inhabit a freshly-made but inanimate body, nor was he, as an eternal Spirit, fashioned into a body.
-To be human, he had to come from a fertilized egg and grow as we all do.
-If He really, really was a man, he grew and learned and developed without having ANY attributes or consciousness of being Deity at all, other than is common to all men.
-So I double down on my NO TWO NATURES stance, for these and many other reasons.

As I said, speculations only - I’d be interested to get comments from one and all.


The best book I’ve read on NDE’s is:

Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death by Sam Parnia and Josh Young

In the US, you can probably obtain a copy - like I did - via the inter-library loan program. Just ask your local, adult reference librarian. :smiley:


Hi Dave,
Thanks for responding. I would like to share my thought’s on each “couldn’t” and “had to.” But first I would like to say that I don’t believe He remained purely human being after resurrection but regained his Deity. That is why He is now able to send his Spirit into his people. He told his disciples that He could not do that until He “went away.” But now He can extend His Spirit along with the Father’s Spirit (actually they share the same Spirit) into his people. He promised that He and his Father would come to those who love Him and make their dwelling with them. And that is exactly what They did. How could an ordinary resurrected human being do that? Also Paul stated that the last “Adam” (Christ) became a life-giving spirit (1 Cor 15:45).

John 14:23 (ASV) Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

I agree that as a baby and a young child, He probably had no such memories of his pre-existence. As a baby doubtless He cried and wet his diapers (or whatever they used back then) just like any other child. I am sure He didn’t stand up at 6 months of age and give a discourse as the second-century gnostics affirmed. But by age 12, when He knew He must be about the things of his Father, He must have known something of his pre-existence. The very fact that He began to call God his “Father” at that time would indicate that He was becoming aware of who He was. As far as I know, it was not usual for Jewish children refer to God as their Father.

I agree that He DID NOT have two natures during his sojourn on earth. But perhaps it’s going too far to say that He COULD NOT have had two natures. However, I would say that now He has the divine nature but retains the same, but changed, physical body which, according to Paul, is as different from the corruptible physical body as the full grown wheat plant is from the seed that was planted.

But the Logos became flesh (John 1:14). If He didn’t pre-exist, then there was no one to become flesh. Have you ever heard it said of any other human being that he “became flesh.”

Why does a human being have to come for a fertilized egg. Just because there was never a virgin birth prior to Jesus or since, doesn’t imply that a virgin birth is impossible. Or do you disbelieve that He was born from a virgin as Matthew and Luke affirm?

I don’t think that follows. His Father could have gradually revealed to Him who He really was.


Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

Just a couple of points:

  1. The 'logos ’ became flesh is, to me at least, the fact that all of the Father’s desires, aims, reasons - in other words, the Word he wanted to make flesh - were in fact brought to fruition in the flesh of the actual human Jesus of Nazareth.
    I do not understand the verse to be referring at all to a pre-existent divine being. It is the ‘word’ - God’s fullest expression - that became flesh.

  2. I think that to die AS a MAN rules out the possibility of the two natures - what other human being died having the ‘nature’ of God as well as a human nature?

  3. No matter how we conceive it (no pun) - under your scenario, it sounds like a divine Being was brought into existence by the Father, then at some point, ceased that eternal existence, was somehow conceived in a womb and born like the rest of us. If He had the advantage of gradually recovering all the experience and knowledge He had from eternity, he certainly died in a human body, but not as a human being. I could be wrong about this (duh!) but I am trying to hold us to the fact that the scripture points Him out as a MAN.

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.


Yes,the only-begotten Son, the only-begotten divine Being was God’s fullest expression. He became flesh.

As you know, I don’t take the position that as a man, the Son of God had two natures. He was fully human while on earth. He didn’t die having two natures. He died with only his human nature. If God hadn’t raised Him from death, He would have remained dead. He had the same identity during the entire time of his humanity, as He had prior to his birth. That identity did not change. He was the same Individual as He was prior to his birth. He was begotten by God, the first of God’s acts. That act marked the beginning of time. After God raised Him from the dead, his divine nature was restored to Him.

Again it wasn’t an “eternal” existence. The Son had a beginning when the Father begat Him (begotten not created). He didn’t cease that existence by being born. He was the same Individual as He was prior to his birth. And yes, He did die as a human being. And yes, He was a MAN. Indeed, He emphasized many times that He was the son of man. He didn’t go around saying that He was the Son of God, but admitted that He was when pressed.

I think we are in exact agreement on this point. No doubt you are referring to Hebrews 2:17
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God…(Hebrews 2:17 ESV).

How did God make Him like his brothers in every respect? By causing Him to be born as a human being by means of a virgin, namely Mary.


We ARE in agreement on a large portion of this question. But of course the devil…uh, you know what I mean :smiley: …is in the details.

I am having difficulty grasping what it would mean for ‘the same individual’ to be the same after his birth and before it. The ‘same’ implies the same memories of experiences, the same knowledge gained through those experiences, the same personal identity. But he was NOT a man if, as you believe (and I don’t) he existed before his birth. If not ‘eternal’, at least I think we agree that he was immortal from the moment of his begetting.

If that is true, then he did cease to exist at birth. He was born like us - no special privileges, no awareness in the womb of who he had been etc. What could possible have survived of an immortal, immensely ‘old’ spiritual being once he became LIKE US?

AS to John 1 - I think the meaning is NOT that Jesus was a pre-existent being, but that, as a man like us, he did express his Father’s desires, will, aims etc. perfectly. He became the Word to us when he was born in the human manner.

What pre-existed was the Father, Who had a will, ideas, aims, loves - those things collectively, the N.T, calls the 'Word", the logos. Not a pre-existent being. IMO.
Fascinating discussion. The value of the discussion to me - outside of just conversing with you and others - is that these considerations work to shed a critical light on creedal trinitarianism. I think that is important.


I might be teaching an intro to philosophy class…to a classroom full of P-Zombies and Zombies

How can I convince them…that the ideas of René Descartes have merit :question:


Jesus is God.

My Lord and my God. - Thomas

The only God who saves. ( All OT scripture )

To Phillip.
Have I been so long with you and you do not
Know me?

John 14:9